By: Sarah Quinn
Posted: December 17, 2015 | Content Marketing
Do you spend a lot of time crafting the perfect piece of content, only to find that it barely generates any shares, let alone drive leads?
As a fellow content marketer at a B2B company, this is hands down one of the most challenging things about my job. We know that content marketing can generate more leads, but according to Content Marketing Institute, only 30% of marketers consider themselves to be effective. What’s the missing link?
It’s time to go back to the basics. The problem may be in your promotion strategy or your lack thereof. Unless you have an audience that seeks out your content en masse, promoting your content is the only way that your audience is going to see it. But aside from simply posting it across your social media channels, what else can you do?
Let’s take a look at 10 tactics that are essential to expanding the reach of your content:
Before you publish your content, you may want to think about ways that you can make it even more shareable. One of the best ways to do this is to find influencers, bloggers, and other sources within your industry and ask them for a quick interview surrounding the subject of your content. That way, you can sprinkle quotes from them throughout your content and its promotion, which will not only give it more validation, but will likely lead to your influencer sharing that piece of content with their own followers.
How to find sources to interview:
You’ve probably heard of great platforms such as BuzzSumo or BuzzStream, where you can search for influencers within your industry, but have you ever thought about using HARO?
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) has more than 475,000 sources and 35,000 journalists that you can use to ask questions surrounding your content. You’ll be able to collect various quotes from relevant sources to give your content more value, thus making it more impactful and shareable.
Have you heard of the PAS formula? It stands for Problem-Agitate-Solve and it’s the copywriter’s secret weapon. PAS is a common technique that’s used when creating content, but it can also work to encourage more clicks back to your content when you post on social networks.
To see this in action, imagine you’re writing a blog post. You would begin the post by identifying the reader’s problem, you would then agitate that problem, and then finish the article by providing the solution.
How to use PAS on social:
Let’s say your video teaches a person how to cook healthy pancakes.
Using the PAS technique, your social snippet could be: “Love food but not the weight gain? It’s a daily struggle for everyone! Learn how to make yummy, guilt-free pancakes with this video.”
And that’s the PAS technique working in less than 140 characters (for all you Twitter enthusiasts).
Take a look at a post from Innocent Drinks—a healthy beverage company—for the perfect example. They’ve started their tweet by identifying the problem: that we don’t consume the Government recommended 5 fruits and vegetables per day. They go on to address the fact that people find it difficult to eat that much fruit and vegetables, and then they offer a solution to that problem at the end of the tweet by linking to their drinks.
Do you change your social banners to promote your content? While it’s a tried and true tactic, not that many businesses will change the covers on their social pages to promote content. But it makes an impact because it’s the first thing that your audience will look at when they visit your page. Create an engaging image and include the address within the image so that your audience knows where to find the content.
How to create a social banner:
Take advantage of free resources to design the banners yourself like: Canva, GIM, Inkscape, and Pixlr.
Social banners work best if you’re promoting big pieces of content like an ebook that’s designed to drive leads. In the example below, Wyzowl created a social banner for their Facebook page to promote their ebook.
4. Post in content communities
A community that is dedicated to the type of content you’ve created is perfect place for promotion. You should be able to find various communities within your industry where you can post your content where it will offer value and not appear too “salesy”.
If you are just getting started, check these places out: Visual.ly for infographics, YouTube/Vimeo for videos, Publi.shfor ebooks, and Medium for blogs.
Did you know that you can pin a tweet so that it appears at the top of your page? Similar to your social banners, this simple trick will help draw attention to people that visit your Twitter page because it’ll be the first tweet they see. You can remove it or change it whenever you like, and it’s perfect for promoting any type of content, including blogs, videos, infographics, or ebooks.
How to pin a tweet:
Find the tweet that you want to Pin, right click on the ‘more options’ icon (the three little dots under a tweet) and select to ‘Pin to your profile page’ and it will then appear at the top of your page.
Take Moz for example. They’re promoting an upcoming event so they created a banner for it and pinned it to the top of their feed—highlighting its importance and driving registrations.
When it comes to promoting your content you shouldn’t just publish it just once on social media and hope for the best. To effectively promote your content, you need to put effort into testing out what works best for each of your different channels.
By creating a variety of intriguing snippets, you’ll encourage a larger click-through to your content by delivering copy that appeals to a larger audience.
How to mix up your snippets:
If you’ve cited sources in your content, then they are definitely worth mentioning when you post on social networks. The idea is that by crediting them on social media, you will encourage these sources to check out the content and share it with their followers. As you research for your content, keep track of bloggers and influencers within your industry.
How to get sources to share your content:
Including influencers that are active on social media, and crediting them on social can translate into a more widely shared piece of content. Take this tweet below as the perfect example. It doesn’t give too much away about the content, but simply tags a few sources within the tweet.
This one isn’t exclusive to influencers, but rather peers who may help share your content for you. If you find people that have shared content around a similar topic as yours, the chances are they wouldn’t mind sharing yours as well since most people are actively looking for content to share. One of the best ways to cultivate these relationships is by reciprocally sharing and commenting. Another way is to understand their audience and make sure that your content offers value to them.
You can be direct, and send them a message sharing your content with them and ask them if they would mind sharing. Or, you can follow them and slowly build a reciprocal relationship by sharing and engaging with their content and getting to know their audience before you ask for them to share—this often works best.
How to find people that have shared similar content:
Visit a website like BuzzSumo—a social media influencer insights platform— and type in the keywords surrounding the content that you’ve created. You’ll then find a list of articles that will be relevant to that content. Next, post the links of those articles into your search bar on Twitter and you’ll find a stream of people who have shared that very content.
As a metrics-driven marketer, you understand what your most successful content is. This underused tactic leverages your best performing content and its significant traffic, to promote new and related content. After you identify your best performing content, place a link from that content to the new piece that you want to promote. If you have a content recommendation engine, you may be able to automate this process.
How to effectively link from your best performing content:
One way to implement this is to use relevant keywords or phrases from your best performing posts, and create new content that is relevant to those keywords so that you can link to it. By doing this, the link will feel natural and relevant to your audience, rather than promotional and out of place.
Chances are that your best performing content is effective at engaging your audience. Take advantage of their interest and include a CTA for them to act on. Let’s say the content that you want to promote is an educational, downloadable piece designed to generate leads. With this tip, once again you use the power of your best performing content to help drive traffic and attention to the new content you want to promote by including a call-to-action.
How to include a CTA in your best performing content:
The first step is to set up a landing page for the content that you want to promote so that when you include a CTA in your best performing content it points to the new asset. According to Brian Dean from Backlinko, this technique really works and he suggests using the CTA closer to the top of the content to help encourage more clicks. You can also design stand-out banners for the side bar and at the bottom of the post to really draw attention to your new content.
Content marketing can be a tough gig—from content ideation to creation and promotion—but with the right tactics across various platforms, you’re far more likely to increase the chance of prospects seeing it, sharing it, and becoming your latest lead.
Do you have any more tricks to promote your content? Let me know in the comments below.